Resilient Team Pilipinas bows down from medal race

SINGAPORE – Powerhouse team Vietnam defeated Team Pilipinas in straight sets, 15-25, 21-25, 23-25, in the women’s volleyball competition on the 28th South East Asian Games in Singapore on Saturday.

The loss cuts the medal chances of the Philippines in its return appearance in the international meet after 10 years of absence.

With vast experience and unshakable composure, Vietnam simply showed the capacity crowd in Singapore how it is done in international competitions with the team’s well-placed powerful shots and effective defensive plan.

However, the resilient heart of Team Pilipinas was in full display in the second and third sets when the team gave Vietnam a scare.

Alyssa Valdez once again top-scored for the team with 11 points in 10 attacks and one service ace. She also recorded a 42.86% success rate in reception alongside defensive ace Denden Lazaro.

The Santiago sisters, with Philippine Army’s dynamic duo of Rachel Anne Daquis and skipper Joveyn Gonzaga, proved to be a steady lifeline for the Philippines in crucial stretches of the match.

Jaja Santiago scored 10 points, Dindin Santiago-Manabat finished with seven points, while Daquis had eight points in five attacks, two blocks, and one service ace. Team captain Gonzaga led the team’s defense with a 59.09% success rate in reception. She also added six points in the team’s final appearance in the SEA Games.

But the biggest revelation in the tournament is the emergence of the master orchestrator Jia Morado with her well-distributed sets and accurate plays in the star-studded team. She tallied 26 excellent sets in the game.

With exposure and experience under the belt of the youthful players of Team Pilipinas, the future is certainly bright for Philippine volleyball. The national team is projected to return to action in 2017 when Malaysia hosts the 29th South East Asian Games.